The  opening date and first shows for Storyhouse, Chester’s new £37m theatre, cinema and library have been announced.  After a ten year absence of a professional theatre in the city centre, Storyhouse will open in May 2017 with a run of four home produced shows, performed in rep by a cast of 26 actors


Coming soon . Pic Mark Carline


The opening shows will be a new musical based on The Beggar’s Opera, a new adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, plus two Shakespeare plays, Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  All of the productions will premiere on the 500 seat wrap around “Storyhouse stage” , one of two formats for the main theatre.

The inaugural season running from 11th May to  27th August has been described as “one of the UK’s most ambitious seasons”. The twist will be that audiences will be able to see the shows in either the new theatre or the open air theatre in the park. Alice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Julius Caesar will transfer to Grosvenor Park whilst The Beggar’s Opera continues inside.

Alex Clifton  Pic Mark Carline

Artistic director Alex Clifton said that :

“We are thrilled to be announcing our much anticipated inaugural season. We believe that we have four brilliant stories to tell. We open with the down and dirty musical The Beggar’s Opera, in a new version fro Chester with an original score rewritten for our time.” He said that Alice in Wonderland would be a “joyous family show” and that all of the plays would “tackle big important questions about our shared cultural identity, and none more obviously than Julius Caesar, a political thriller, perfectly set to take audiences to the rancid heart of power”. In contrast Midsummer Night’s Dream will be an “on stage carnival ” that will “celebrate the glorious diversity and volatility of human desire”.


Backstabbing politicians


Storyhouse has been constructed inside the Grade II listed shell of the former Odeon, with a new brick and translucent extension housing the theatre space. After a long wait it will be exciting to see the completion of a new building in the city that is neither a restaurant or student housing block.  Cllr Louise Gittins said that Storyhouse will be “a place that the borough’s communities can come together and experience the UK’s leading theatre, opera, dance and music companies. It will create opportunities not available before”. This was echoed by Shadow Cabinet member Stuart Parker who said that Storyhouse “marks a substantial shift in the region’s growing cultural offer. The wait has definitely been worth it to see the transformation into a venue for us all to feel a part of”.

For the people of Chester, after a long wait it will be exciting to see the completion of a new building in the city that is neither a restaurant or student housing block.


Odeon memories inside the transformed building . Pic Mark Carline



Storyhouse, designed by Bennetts Associates and funded by Cheshire West and Chester council , Arts council England and trusts and foundations will be the largest public building ever in Chester. In the autumn and winter the stage will transform into an 800 seat theatre presenting national and international touring productions. The building also houses a 150 seat studio theatre, a 100 seat cinema and a library.

The Beggar’s Opera by Glyn Maxwell and directed by Alex Clifton will run for 25 performances on the Storyhouse stage from 11th May to 19th August.

Alice in Wonderland by Glyn Maxwell, will be at the Storyhouse from 19th May to 9th July and will then transfer to the open air theatre until the 2oth August.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be on the Storyhouse stage from 9th June to 16th July and in the open air theatre from 21 July to 27 August

Julius Caesar will be inside from 23rd June to 30th July and in the park from 3 August to 27 August.

For full dates and tickets   see

3 Replies to “Storyhouse announce opening shows!”

  1. I have a friend who uses a mobility scooter so we are restricted to theatres which provide disabled access. Could you let me know what facilities you intend to provide please?

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